by Mabel Suen
Kelly Spencer first spotted the boarded-up former art deco filling station that now houses the Station at the Social Affair (2232 Thurman Avenue; 314-735-5527) while moving into her then-new home in the neighborhood ten years ago. From that point on, she made it her goal to make that piece of history her own. And now, a decade later, she wields a culinary arts degree, her own catering business, and an award from the Landmarks Association of St. Louis for the "Most Enhanced" in local historic preservation.
Last December, she moved her five-year-old catering business into the completely rehabbed space. On April 5, she officially opened the Station to the public with a market offering a variety of her menu of dips, soups, baked goods and more.
The kitchen itself takes up the former garage of the building, with new glass doors installed that stream in natural daylight across the centerpiece of the room: a 16-foot-long marble-topped island. With her sous chef Alex Meyer and market manager Christine Salsich, Spencer creates her from-scratch prepared foods, sets up private events and hosts cooking classes.
Spencer describes her style as "rustic elegant," presenting many of her products in daintily labeled mason jars. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she puts a bit of a Southern touch on everything she does, from the "Dixie Pimento Cheese" to her bacon and bourbon jam.
In the market, visitors can find ready-to-eat chicken salad, dips such as white bean and basil or smoked salmon, simple syrups, handmade crackers and double chocolate gooey butter cake squares. On Mondays, the Station offers a different pre-made dinner each week. On Saturdays, look for special brunch items including quiche and ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls utilizing a dough recipe from her sister-in-law's Grandpa Slosar, who was a Slovakian pastry chef in Chicago.
The Social Affair at the Station's hours are Monday from 4 to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, check out the Social Affair website and follow it on Facebook.
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